Bones joining in space like antlers in the dark. Then having a spat, and then saying what they really think. And all the flesh from the sky pulled away like scabs and stars and trees. Or just a shift. The day you are hired is the same day that you work for free. Just a few hours. But it burns all the same. The plates of food in your hands, like your flesh is free. Your bones just hung there on a wall, there to serve the flesh they come from.
Food propelled itself from the kitchen in a fury of so many limbs on foot, pushed on by an invisible urge to appease and skip, that it changed the meaning of drinking, devouring, and returned again to a fleshy grave without any meaning, whether you were supplying the soil, the body, or the night.
Frank looked at a screen hung in the sky where the food orders waited. The head-chef rubbed his head, looking over at Frank, at his slowness, and then over at something else that made him feel even worse in the corner. It’s a great thing to see a man cook himself with stress, but hard to understand if you prefer the dance of life over the heat. It’s a parasite without any head, a ghost tail, and you cannot tell where it likes to live most. You can just see people wincing with the pain, forgetting how to speak normally, and rub their little pink heads with frustration.
Learning what alcoholism was, what drinking was, judgement, manners, none, and the places where they jumped all over each other in a maze. In the sad eyes of people that were there everyday. And, the questions, asked by the drunks, the patrons of the manner, us good old swearing shadows, those in charge, somewhere up the scale… But the awful fear, and the pretence that came from the true owners of the bar chain. Like pigeons shitting on Big Ben believing that they could also alter time.
And like a bad hangman song there was nothing else to do but sing and pour the booze. And the bar was a throat, with unclean lights like dusty uvulas hanging from the ceiling. Soft swaying yellow balls hung from a skin-leash that we see when the mouth opens, much like a boxer’s speed ball. The light, the kernel, the filth, the gordy fixtures left unclean.
Frank fell asleep pouring one last pint. He looked up into the eyes of the pouree, and said with them that another would be there in a second. The bar moved location again. He slept. Cursing and laughing and living and sleeping. The dream was about a poem that lived in the pumps of the bar. It served poems poems. It was managed by poems, yet there were some that had more energy than others. There would always be the ability to fly that dispersed when the morning came. Black or light. Morning more as in: here comes the grace or bullshit of the day.
There was a good hammering in one of the shifts as Frank pulled back a lever to serve some ale. And it is true, it is mostly old men that like the ale. It was coming from outside where they were building a beer garden in the bin area. But since there was a few hours to go, at least five or six, and the hammering was dim, and there was only another few hundred pints to pull, the angels to serve, and the children of the angels to serve, there was nothing to see. Frank went back inside and found four plates of food waiting on the metal shelves that needed taking out. It was hard to work with friends and to be silent in disgrace. It was hard to have only done this for a few weeks and feel so bad about it all. Some nights it would be better, when the fury of the bar was really too loud to remember yourself or anything much. Beginning to move feet faster, and slower, behind the bar, as time slowed, and all movements became natural.
Bury the slaves with their savagery and make epitaphs from their howling. Bury the moon, bury the moon’s hands, and bury the sun as it twists in different ways. Speak to each eye in the same way, and know that the shadows of disgust will pass in time, Frank sang as he worked on different cocktails, poured pints, and found a reason to laugh with his own madness. Hell would be better. Heaven would be better, even if it was being built outside of the main serving area. You can fall in love with the panic, like a bull in love love with rage, wondering why there is a buzz in the air, unable to know that it comes from a taser, held by the joke at the end of the field.
He found himself spitting ‘thank yous’, and screaming ‘whose nexts’, like some piece of black skin and bone without training or programming or soul. Eyes open like pits in space, limbs multiplying, movements becoming speed outside of thought, and the reasons to slow made more rabid by the flow of sweating bones waiting to drink even more.
At the end, one quite literally does work on a: zero hour contract. The hours are always zero. This is true. A woman dressed in a tight fitting pink dress asks for the keys to the disabled toilets because her friend has the runs one night. Yet this does not ride you too much. Drunks will be drunks the same way that Jupiter has a stronger gravity than Earth.
And as Frank walked home, and the fire from the darkness came, over so many hours, he was one again. I would ask the stars to say more, as the grass invites its wetness into my boots. And the sky. But the cars come. Jesus knocks over his beer. It rains. And the road becomes chimera. Seulement le chimère.